Following in the footsteps of his glorious, full color tome on Black Sabbath, acclaimed metal writer Martin Popoff is back again, this time tackling one of the premier metal bands of the last 30 years, the mighty Judas Priest. Sticking to the same format (and for this writer, a fantastic choice) as the Sabbath book, Heavy Metal Painkillers takes you from the humble beginnings of the band, with each chapter focusing on a different album release, and jam-packed full of photographs of the band both live and offstage, as well as plenty of memorabilia. There's hardly any act in memory that Martin hasn't interviewed over his storied career, so expect tons of snippets from his many conversations with the members of Priest tossed into this rather fascinating read. For most of us longtime fans (and rest assured Popoff is one of them) the chapters focusing on classic albums such as Sad Wings of Destiny, Stained Class, Sin After Sin, Hell Bent For Leather/Killing Machine, British Steel, Screaming For Vengeance, and Defenders of the Faith, will be of most interest, and Martin really digs in deep on these releases, going song by song with plenty of input from the band. However, if you've been a rather casual listener of Judas Priest since those earlier days, you'll learn much about the Ripper Owens years, as well as Halford's solo career, in the second half of the book.
As always with a book of this nature, once you are done (or probably during) you'll find yourself digging out your trusty CD's for a refresher course, just in case you've been remiss and haven't taken a tour of Stained Class in a while, or any of them for that matter. The end result is a highly enjoyable book for any Judas Priest or heavy metal fan, and quite mandatory.
Now, how about that Thin Lizzy book????